Buzz

Trying to understand Texas, New York style
The esteemed New York Times Magazine on January 22 spotlighted a trend revealed by the letters-to-the-editor pages of the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It seems nearly a dozen readers' letters over the past year--on subjects ranging from women's rights to Newt Gingrich--included some variation on the phrase, "Let me get this straight."

The item appeared under the lead: "Trying to understand, Texas style."
The same section of the magazine included an item about a man who takes his dog scuba-diving; another on tornado videos as entertainment; and a third on "memes"--so-called "thought genes."

And they're wondering why Texans have trouble making sense of the world?

Friends in low places
It's great when friends make it big, yet still remember us back here in Dallas.

On a recent Conan O'Brien show, weight-loss guru Susan Powter, subject of a September 16, 1993 expose in these pages, referred to the Observer as that "rag in Dallas...It's gross."

And in a November article in Forward, a Jewish newspaper based in New York City that publishes in English and Yiddish, former Dallas Morning News plagiarist and depressive Elizabeth Wurtzel complained about the September 8, 1994 Observer cover story ["I hate myself and I want to die"] by staff writer Ann Zimmerman. Griping about the article's focus on her historical deceptions, Wurtzel griped: "I feel like this woman was going around saying she had nude photos of me--after I'd already posed for Playboy."

While grateful for the mention, we were also awestruck at the reach of Wurtzel's publicity machine--from the Washington Post to Vanity Fair to Entertainment Weekly to the Forward. What's next--Radio Baghdad?

And, no, we don't have naked photos of Wurtzel.
Finally, you know you've made it when you turn up as a prop in pulp fiction. In a recently published detective novel set in Dallas, titled In Self-defense, author Sarah Gregory describes the Observer as a "pesky radical sheet...which never missed the opportunity to take swipes in print at the News."

Presumed feminine
The above-mentioned author Sarah Gregory, is, of course, a pseudonym for Fort Worth whodunnit machine A. W. Gray. Gray, who can crank out upwards of two books a year, says his publishers thought that using a female pseudonym would grab him a share of the lucrative women's market that is drawn to mystery writers like Sue Grafton.

But using a nonexistent dame as a beard has its risks. His publishers at Penguin fear that women will flee in droves from the work of Sarah Gregory if they learn that it's the product of a man in literary drag. That means the usual author publicity tricks--press releases, book signings, and interviews--are out. "I thought maybe I could send out a picture of my wife or daughter," the pseudo-authoress tells Buzz. "But I figured my cover would be blown pretty quick."

We are pretty sure we can get naked pictures of Sarah Gregory.

Buzz us at 757-8439 (voice) or 757-8593 (fax) or via Internet at observer@mcimail.com. Luddites can reach us at P.O. Box 190289, Dallas, 75219.

 
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